Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) has announced it has expanded its global presence to South Africa with a new, wholly owned office in Johannesburg. Marketing industry heavyweight, Marcus Sorour, will join WE as General Manager, South Africa. WE will supplement local talent with transfers from its other international offices to provide a mix of global best practices and local knowledge.

Based in Sandton, Johannesburg, the office will open with its first client win. The agency has been appointed to drive pan-African corporate and technology PR for Microsoft Corp’s West, East, Central Africa & Indian Ocean Islands account following a three-way pitch.

The addition of WE’s first African office increases its owned network to 16 offices across the globe and also provides a platform for growth opportunities in the sub-Saharan region. An additional 45 markets are serviced by the WE Global Alliance programme consisting of 17 independent partner agencies.

“Our philosophy is to attract and engage diverse talent — all around the globe,” said Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO, President and Founder of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. “Our first office in Africa will extend our Innovation Communications application of how we view influence working today, and the role it plays in driving the growth, understanding and adoption of innovation. That understanding, coupled with our commitment to be a responsible leader in our industry, gives us a solid foundation from which to deepen our capabilities and expertise in the areas of corporate responsibility and sustainability for clients in this important market.”

Marcus Sorour to Drive Expansion
Sorour has an impressive track record of winning business and building successful agencies. Over the past 10 years he has worked with local and multinational brands on business-to-business and consumer campaigns for blue-chip companies including Barclays; Cisco Systems; IBM Corp; and Siemens AG. As well as leading operations in Johannesburg, Sorour will join WE’s Europe; Middle East; and Africa (EMEA) board.

“We’re delighted to be working with Microsoft and to get the office off the mark with its first competitive win,” said Chris Talago, Executive Vice President and General Manager, EMEA. “Marcus’ proven ability to run influential campaigns and South Africa’s positive economic growth creates an exciting platform for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide not just in South Africa but throughout the region. As our clients are actively expanding communications programmes in Africa, our expansion is timely.”

“Waggener Edstrom Worldwide has invested deeply in its digital team, WE Studio D, and in building its corporate responsibility practice,” said Sorour. “The tools and services it is creating are truly breaking new ground. As adoption of digital communications escalates in South Africa, so does the opportunity for companies to rethink and evolve their approach to marketing.“

Before joining WE, Sorour was managing consultant of Text 100’s South Africa operations, where his work included handling the Cisco emerging markets and Lenovo accounts. Before Text 100 he led advertising and public relations accounts at Draft FCB in Johannesburg. Sorour is passionate about growing the skills base in the South African public relations market and regularly guest lectures on industry trends at the University of Johannesburg and the Public Relations Institute of South Africa.